Carrington routs Crusaders to open tournament

MANDAN – Carrington baseball coach Wayne Shipman wasn’t about to let his team overlook Region 8 Cinderella Trenton-Trinity Christian.

The Cardinals jumped on T-TC starting pitcher Trenten Hove early and took advantage of five Crusader miscues during an 11-1 victory Thursday in the opening round of the Class B state tournament.

An hour rain delay didn’t cool the Cardinals’ bats as they plated three runs in the first, which proved to be more than enough support for Carrington junior pitcher Patrick Freeman. Carrington led wire-to-wire to earn a semifinal matchup with Central Cass at 4:30 p.m. today.

The Cardinals didn’t take T-TC lightly despite it being the Crusaders’ first ever trip to the state tournament. Carrington learned its lesson when it was upset by Dakota Prairie in the Region 8 tournament.

“I told the team, ‘I don’t care what you see across the diamond, whether it looks like a major league team or not, go out there and respect them,’ ” Carrington coach Wayne Shipman said.

Brady Smith, Austin Hewitt and Freeman all recorded RBI singles in the first inning to build an early lead. Smith and Hewitt – the No. 3 and No. 4 hitters in the order – combined for three RBIs and five runs scored.

“In the state tournament, I don’t think you ever expect to win by the 10-run rule,” Shipman said. “We just wanted to come out and get a lead.”

First baseman Alexander Nelson provided Carrington’s power at the No. 5 spot, going 2-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. With the bases loaded in the fourth, Nelson doubled to deep left field off Hove, driving in Easton Paeper and Smith.

“A few of the guys mentioned how they were a little off this game, but I think after that first inning we really got on a roll,” Nelson said.

The Cardinals broke the game open in the fourth, scoring five runs to stretch their lead to double digits. The first five batters in the inning reached safely, with Nelson’s two-RBI knock ending Hove’s day on the mound. Hove was responsible for all 11 runs, surrendering seven hits and walking five.

Hove was far to blame as the defense behind him failed to make crucial plays. Off-target throws, dropped fly balls and botched ground balls led to prolonged innings.

“We threw the ball around a little bit that first inning,” T-TC coach Dave Huck said. “We showed we were a little rattled, probably a little bit of nerves. From there, we settled in a little bit, but then the wheels kind of fell off.”

Freeman earned the win for the Cardinals, allowing one run on three hits and striking out five in five innings.

“Patrick did a tremendous job,” Nelson said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

T-TC plays Harvey-Wells County at 11:30 a.m. today in a consolation semifinal.